Poets & Writers managing director Melissa Ford Gradel will take over as the organization’s executive director in January, when Elliot Figman steps down, after leading the nonprofit since 1981. Figman said: “It’s been my honor to work together with such talented and passionate colleagues. While parting is, indeed, sweet sorrow, I’m delighted to pass the baton to Melissa, who has a deep understanding of our mission, vision, and values and is uniquely qualified to take the helm. As I reflect on my time at Poets & Writers, I’m so proud that we’ve built this organization to be a widely respected and trusted resource for writers.”
Hannah Bishop has been promoted to associate publicist at Harper.
Mary Al-Sayed has joined the University of Chicago Press as editor for anthropology and history. She was most recently senior editor at Palgrave Macmillan.
Former Barnes & Noble sci-fi/fantasy and graphic novel buyer Jim Killen has joined Rebellion Publishing as editor-at-large.
The Center for Fiction will rename its Emerging Writer Fellowship as the Susan Kamil Award for Emerging Writers. The Center writes in the release that their goal is to create an endowment of $250,000 “through the generous financial support of family, friends, and associates of the namesake, including a lead gift of $25,000 from Penguin Random House, where she was executive vice president and publisher of the Random House imprint.” The first winners of the renamed fellowship will be selected in 2021.
NPD Bookscan reports that tracked US print book sales at retail were up 6.4 percent by volume through the first three quarters of 2020, at 505 million units — compared to 474 million units in 2019.
Adult nonfiction is up 1.7 percent year-to-date at 210 million units, driven by political books and other topical/current events titles (including books on racism).
Adult fiction is up 3.5 percent year-to-date, at 98 million units.
Children’s fiction is up 10 percent year-to-date, at 117 million units, and children’s nonfiction is up 29 percent, at 54 million units.
Publisher-reported ebook sales tracked through NPD’s PubTrack Digital service rose 8 percent for the first half of the year, at 94 million units, up from 88 million in 2019.
PublishersMarketplace members in most member categories can access NPD data through a variety of programs, from unlimited searching on an annual basis to amazingly affordable monthly “data packages” to track 5 ISBNs and view top bestsellers weekly.
Harvard Bookstore owners wrote to customers with a detailed explanation of the challenges they and other independent bookstores have faced this year, with a detailed explanation of why bookstores are urging customers to start their holiday book shopping early. As they note, “Sales are down significantly compared to any period prior to the pandemic… The imbalance between revenue and expenses represents a threat to our continued existence.” Their annual holiday sale will be held in October, due to limits on store occupancy, shortage of printing capacity, and possible mail disruptions around the holidays.